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DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY via Getty Images
To analyse Gadhimai purely in terms of a religious motivation to please the voracious appetite of a carnivorous goddess is to miss the desperate economic realities that undergird India's agricultural economy and motivate the disposal of economically "unviable" animals. Religious superstition undoubtedly plays a major -- but not the only -- role in animal and human rights abuse.
The bulls in a frozen semen farm are magnificent creatures, deemed genetically the most superior of their species for their capacity to sire high-milk yielding daughters. At about 18 months of age, healthy young bulls are inducted into dairy slavery. In a single holding stall of a bovine frozen semen factory, 40 to 60 bulls at a minimum, across species and breeds are tethered tightly, with barely two or three feet of space separating one bull from another.